[Homeros] I: Luwrain as a platform for distributing applications for handicapped people

Michael Pozhidaev msp на altlinux.ru
Вс Авг 3 19:57:10 MSK 2014

Привет всем!

На предстоящей конференции "The Linux vacation/Eastern Europe" будет
опубликован небольшой материал про Luwrain.Всеми уважаемый Дмитрий
Костюк позволил разместить его в Интернете уже сейчас, и статья уже открыто

Из всех рассказов про Luwrain этот несколько особенный, потому что
является очень полимичным и почти не содержит технических деталей.Его
цель - предложить рассмотреть Luwrain с несколько нестандартной точки
зрения - как платформы для распространения специально адаптированных
приложений. Само собой, мне идея кажется потрясающей, раз пишу, но что
это может быть на самом деле - вопрос открытый, отсюда и
полемичность. Текст на английском. Прошу прощения, если это доставляет
кому-нибудь неудобства, но публикации на национальных языках сейчас
сильно сужают аудиторию.  Ниже есть ссылка и текст. Всем спасибо!


Luwrain as a platform for distributing applications for handicapped people

Last years we can see the process when various vendors release the applications, which typically
play a role of clients for services, usually accessed through the Internet. These applications
have a version for every popular platform, especially mobile, because it is the simplest way to
bring particular service to user and make access easy and comfortable. Meantime, the problem
remains actual in a context of accessibility questions. When new application of this type appears,
usually there are no promises that it will be understandable by people with low vision or blind.

The problem is partially solved by accessibility features incorporated in particular platform but
initial UI design anyway is prepared mostly for sighted people and disabled users are continuing
to be in handicapped position, because there is still no any technology which could provide the
interface completely suitable and understandable for them. Actually, the embedded accessibility
features could be useful for people who have the experience of work with a particular platform as
sighted user, because they do an assisting in terms (GUI, windows, dialogs, multitouch) of the
interface, which the user should be already familiar with. Such prior explanation and introduction
to new environment are sometimes difficult to do, especially for seniors or children born blined.
Only the interface, which was designed for disabled users from scratch, could guarantee the
complete access to services. The author thinks that it is especially important as we can see now
the process of spreading the digital government services over all parts of the society as well
as making popular various payment systems, which evidently could be very useful for everybody who
is restricted in moving or consuming services in normal way.

From this point of view the accessible environment Luwrain can be considered as a platform for
distributing accessible applications for blind and visually impaired people. The main advantage it
can offer to potential application providers is that they do not need any experience in creating
accessibility technologies. They may think of Luwrain as of a Java library which consists of
classes representing the behaviour of various controls, such as lists, trees, menus, forms etc,
but in a way suitable for using by blind consumers. The purpose of every such class is clearly
understandable and does not require any special knowledge or prior practice. The set of Luwrain
classes to be created should be sufficient for constructing the interface of most applications
which do not imply graphical and visual objects. Further, Luwrain library is written on Java SE
and that makes possible its using on every platform with proper Java SE support. Besides that,
since Java is involved in creating of applications for Android we may think that providers should
have a lot of already written code on Java and the preparing of new front-end will be relatively
easy and will not require significant amount of new resources for extra work.

Luwrain environment is designed in such way that gives the user the simplest and the most
understandable method of interaction. When the user doesn't see a picture on the screen he/
she replaces it with the image in the imagination. Luwrain takes care that this artificial picture
should be the most simple as it could be, because with these circumstances simplicity means all
necessary properties — to be comfortable, elegant and time efficient. The portions of the
information, transmitted from Luwrain to user, are also as minimal as it is possible to be
sufficient. The information transmitted mostly through speech. The screen also contains the
picture with the textual data reflecting the working object, but it plays mostly a supplementary
role. In Luwrain there are no any objects or pieces of data, which are inaccessible without
involving the monitor.

If potential user hasn't any suitable operating system on the PC, that will not make
impossible using the applications created for Luwrain, because Luwrain is distributed as a
complete stand-alone Linux-based OS as well. The license of this ISO-image is free and the chosen
legal status eliminates any barriers for users to have complete access to desired services. The
bootable ISO-image being described should be suited for installation without sighted help and
should be shipped with accessible browser.

Finally, we would like to invite everybody who is interesting in developing this conception to
discuss the question of creating the central repository or store for the applications designed for
Luwrain. Having the single place to get applications from, handicapped consumers could get the
generally new approach to Internet services which so far raised a lot of questions of
compatibility with accessibility features.

Michael Pozhidaev. Tomsk, Russia.
Russian info page: http://www.marigostra.ru/
English info page: http://www.marigostra.com/

Подробная информация о списке рассылки Homeros